UAE Labour Law: Understanding Annual Leave

UAE’s labour laws are designed to protect the rights of workers and to ensure that they are treated fairly. One of the most important benefits that workers are entitled to is paid leave. Workers are entitled to 30 days of paid leave per year, and they can accumulate their days in lieu and take them all at once in case of contract renewal. If a worker’s contract is terminated, they are entitled to a cash allowance equivalent to the unused days. This ensures that workers are not taken advantage of, and that they are able to enjoy the benefits that they are entitled to.

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Aside from official holiday leaves and sick leaves, workers in the emirates are entitled to an annual leave, as per the UAE Labour Law that is adhered to by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE).

What exactly is an annual leave and how long can it be? Are workers entitled to a basic wage during this period? These are just some of the questions that we shall address in today’s post.

domestic worker annual leave law as per mohre

All About Annual Leaves for Workers in the UAE

To understand the annual leave as practiced in the UAE, we have put together the following questions and answers, along with related provisions stated in the UAE Labour Law:

#1 – What is an annual leave?

Basically, an annual leave is a paid period granted by companies to workers. The worker may use it for any purpose (e.g. family visit, vacation) that he or she wishes.

#2 – How long is the annual leave?

The duration of the annual leave depends on how long the employee has been working for the company. Article 75 of the UAE Labour Law states that if the period of service is between six months to one year, the worker is entitled to a leave of “two days for each month.”

The same article cites that if the worker has been in service for at least one year, he or she is entitled to a leave of “30 days for each year.”

#3 – Who determines the date(s) of the annual leave?

The worker may decide when his or her annual leave would start. However, this may also be determined by the company. Article 76 notes that “the employer may determine the date of the commencement of the annual leave, and may divide it if necessary to two or more periods.”

#4 – Is the worker entitled to a flight ticket for the annual leave?

The answer to this question is NO, since this matter is not covered by the UAE Labour Law. It is under the discretion (and policies) of the company if it would issue flight tickets to its workers, especially those who have been working for more than a year.

#5 – What if there is a public holiday during the annual leave?

Public holidays that occur during an annual leave should be treated as part of the said leave. As Article 77 states: “The holidays set by law or by agreement, or any other leaves caused by illness should it occur during such holiday shall be included in the annual leave and deemed a part thereof.”

#6 – Does the worker get paid for the days of the annual leave?

The answer is YES. Article 78 clearly mentions that “the worker shall receive a basic wage and a housing allowance, if any, for the days of the annual leave.”

In case circumstances would require the employee to work during the annual leave, the same article cites that “the employer must pay the worker the wage thereof, in addition to a leave allowance for the days of work, equal to his basic wage.”

UAE Labour Law Understanding Annual Leave

#7 – What happens if the worker leaves work or gets dismissed?

If a worker gets dismissed or if he/she leaves work after a determined notice period, he “shall be entitled to receive the sum for accrued annual leave days,” Article 79 states. “Such payment shall be calculated on the basis of the wages paid to the worker at the time of such leave.”

#8 – When does the worker get paid?

The worker is entitled to a full salary before taking his or her annual leave. Article 80 cites that “the employer shall pay to the employee, prior to the annual leave thereof, the entire wage due thereto in addition to the leave pay determined by virtue of the provisions hereof.”

#9 – What if the worker gets sick during the annual leave?

If an employer gets sick, he or she should inform the company within two days so that the company can help arrange for a medical check up. “Should the worker sustain an illness not caused by an occupational injury, he must notify the employer thereof within two days at most,” states Article 82. “The employer shall take the necessary procedures to expose the worker to a medical examination immediately in order to verify the illness thereof.”

#10 – Can the employee work for another employer during the annual leave?

The answer is NO. Article 88 mentions that during the annual leave, “the worker may not work for another employer. Should the employer establishes such action, he shall be entitled to terminate the employment of the worker without notice and to deprive him of his wage for the duration of the leave.”

#11 – What if the employee doesn’t report for work after the annual leave?

If an employee doesn’t report for work after the annual leave, he/she will not be entitled to any pay for the day(s) that he/she is absent. Article 89 indicates that “every worker who does not report back directly to his job upon the end of his leave shall be deprived of the wage thereof for the period of his absence as of the day that follows the end of the leave.”

#12 – Can a worker be dismissed during his/her annual leave?

The answer to this question is NO. “The employer may not dismiss the worker or give him a notice thereof while the worker is on a leave,” Article 90 states. If a company dismisses a worker who is on official leave, the said worker may take legal action against the company.

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DISCLAIMER: Exact details may change anytime, and so the above information should be referred to as a guide only. To learn more about what the UAE Labour Law says about annual leaves, please visit the official website of the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE).

UAE Labour Law Understanding Annual Leave

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